Junior Oliver Lee and freshman Kendall Crawford won all of their races this weekend, setting Harvard records and leading their respective teams to historic wins over Yale and Princeton.
A bevy of school records fell this weekend as the Harvard men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams bested their competition in the HYP dual meet at DeNunzio Pool in Princeton, N.J.
For the men’s team (8-0, 6-0 Ivy), the win was a piece of history, the first time an Ivy opponent has beaten Princeton at home and ensured a share of the dual meet title. The squad bested the Tigers by a margin of 200-153 and topped the Bulldogs, 292-61.
For the women (9-0, 7-0 Ivy), the win closed out a second consecutive undefeated conference season, a feat the Crimson hadn’t accomplished for six years. The team swept Yale, 209-89, and Princeton, 199-99.
“It was an awesome accomplishment to have beaten them in their own pool,” junior Oliver Lee said. “Our team is stronger than it has ever been, and that we are breaking school records in-season complements our victory over Princeton in their own pool.”
Lee had a superlative performance during the meet, breaking three school records and turning in two other times that were the second fastest in program history. He earned an individual record in the 50 free with a time of 19.74, eclipsing junior Chris Satterthwaite’s previous time of 19.84.
Lee and Satterthwaite joined sophomore Griffin Schumacher and junior Will Brophy to set the record in the 200 free relay in 1.18.71. Later in the meet, Lee teamed up with Schumacher and juniors Jack Pretto and Chuck Katis with a record time of 1.27.18 in the 200 medley relay.
Lee swam five races total, capturing first place in every single event. The team captured a win in 14 of the 19 events through the weekend.
“I was really happy with my own swims,” Lee said. “Personal bests when we aren’t yet tapered are always good. Going into Ivy’s, our team is excited and hoping to send a solid group to NCAA’s.”
Going into Ivy League Championships, Lee is no stranger to success. Last year, as a sophomore, he raced in the 200 and 400 free relay teams that set earlier school records at the championship meet.
Newer to the conference title race is freshman Kendall Crawford, who also had a banner weekend at Princeton. Crawford set school records in the 100 backstroke with a time of 53.59 and 100 butterfly, finishing in 53.79. She also won the 200 backstroke in 1:55.16, with teammates Danielle Lee, Caroline Weaver and Deirdre Clute trailing behind.
“We walked onto Princeton’s deck, and from the first step off the bus, we dominated,” Crawford said. “Getting two records was so beyond anything I’d ever expected. The atmosphere was so exciting and the excitement from the team fueled better and better swims. Everyone had great swims and each race led off to the other. Everything was perfect.”
Crawford has been breaking Harvard records since starting her collegiate career. In both of her first two meets, the freshman set landmark times for the Crimson in the 100 backstroke. Her time of 53.59 just eclipsed her previous record of 54.20, set at the Georgia Invitational on Dec. 2.
Crawford has picked up at least two wins in every meet she has competed in this January.
“[I] take each meet one step at a time,” Crawford said. “Closing out the season, I’d love to be able to help the team win an Ivy League championship…. It’s such a great team to be part of, and to be able to help it is just the best feeling. I guess personally I’d love to make NCAA’s. To be able to be a part of representing Harvard on a national level would be incredible.”
The rookie has her sights set beyond this season, which continues on Feb. 28 at Ivy Championships, and into the future. The Crimson enters the post-dual meet season with 14 straight wins and last year’s title on its record. With the strong crop of freshmen, including Crawford, the speed they carry doesn’t appear to be going away soon.
“I’m so honored to be able to help this team,” Crawford said. “I want to help start a dynasty of Harvard swimming as being the ones to beat. Princeton has won the past couple of years prior to 2011-12. I want to be able to start something new, start a Harvard dynasty. To be part of that is such an honor I can’t even describe.”
—Staff writer Cordelia F. Mendez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @CrimsonCordelia.